Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 requires public authorities, in carrying out their functions, powers and duties, to promote equality of opportunity and good relations among a range of groups.
The Agency has developed an Equality Scheme in order to set out how this statutory duty will be upheld. This Scheme was approved by the Equality Commision in September 2011.
The groups spelled out in Section 75 are:
a) persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation;
b) men and women generally;
c) persons with a disability and persons without;
d) persons with dependants and persons without.
The legislation seeks to ensure that equality is mainstreamed in public authorities. This means it aims to ascertain that equality considerations are taken on board in everything an organisation does, in other words that equality becomes part and parcel of the work of an organisation. To this end, Section 75 requires all public bodies to produce an Equality Scheme. Our scheme, which was approved in September 2011, lays out what we will do to promote equality and good relations within the Agency over a five year period. The main issues, which the Scheme addresses, relate to:
- how we take on board equality issues in reviewing and developing our policies
- how we equip our staff to effectively address equality issues in their work by delivering training to them
- how we consult and communicate with the public in all aspects of implementing the statutory equality duties
- how we promote good relations within our work.
The Equality Commission’s guidance outlines a two-stage process for the consideration of equality implications in the development and review of policies: Screening as the initial review to identify those policies with greatest equality implications and Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs) as a subsequent, more rigorous examination of those identified policies. For Equality Screening Templates, please click on the link below: